It is good that we are here! This week we take a cue from Sunday's Gospel and explore how #SmartFreedom can revolutionize our relationships. We will maintain last week's rules & and one more this week: No Phones while in conversation with other people. We'll take a look at this rule a little more closely following our Scripture Reflection below!
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." But he did not know what he was saying.
While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my chosen Son; listen to him." After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
It's not that Jesus played favorites, but He had an inner circle... a squad within the squad. The Three that were set apart from the Twelve: Peter, James, and John. These three got to see up close and personal a few miracles and revelations that the others had to hear about second hand, or way after the fact. This weekend's Gospel about the Transfiguration is a perfect example of this.
In our own lives we have our inner circles. Often this includes our family, best friends, sometimes parents, our bff at work, etc. The people in our Top 3 tend to be the people in closest proximity to us. They get to see a side of us that we don't show to the rest of the world. There is an intimacy built up by proximity--our top 3 learn our quirks, our nuances, our habits, our vices. They love us despite these things... and we tend to return that love by... well, not changing. The comfortability of staying the same around those that love us can be a dangerous place to be.
We often forget to thank our Top 3 for all that they do for us, and worse, we often treat our Top 3 with the most disrespect, apathy, and indifference. That idea of unconditional love is something we tend to take advantage of... And most likely, our Top 3 are the ones that most often see the top of our heads as we scroll mindlessly, google incessantly, and text others while mid-conversation with them. Why do we do this? Because they understand. We're with them all of the time. They get it. They are doing the same thing. We often feel that there is no pressure to engage with the ones we love most because those relationships have been established. They love and accept us as we are... the freedom of being allowed to be the worst versions of ourselves often makes us just that. With strangers or even acquaintances we tend to try harder. Be kinder. Watch our tone, etc. Perhaps we don't even pull out our smartphones while talking to them.
What if smartphones had been around during the Transfiguration? Can you just imagine it? Peter may have missed it because he was changing his instagram handle to @theRock, James would be checking out airbnbs in Spain as he was planning his next hiking trip, and John, the beloved, would be facebook-living the event instead of being present to what was happening.
Jesus brings The Three along for this incredibly revealing and mysterious moment in His life. He offers them to experience life with Him. There would be a time and place for recording that life and sharing it with others--#latergram. Jesus explicitly told them to wait to share the information about what they saw and heard. In the present moment He wanted their presence. He wanted their eyes on Him. Jesus is asking that of us now, but where are our eyes? He wanted their silence--contemplating these things in their hearts. When do we take the time to contemplate? To wait to share? To wait to speak? Or is everyone constantly aware of what we're doing every moment of every day through or various social media stories?
And what about our Top 3? Are we watching and listening as they reveal more of themselves to us? Do we allow ourselves to be pulled away from conversation, from sharing life when we are trying to keep up with the rest of the 12, 72, and thousands of others? Do we sit on the mountain with ones we love most, fully attentive and fully present? When we do look up from our phones what do we see? The top of their heads as they scroll? The mindless escape of streaming content from a never-ending source?
When will you have an "It is good that we are here" moment this week?
#SmartFreedom Challenge Checklist:
No phone while driving.
No phone during meals.
No phone in the bathroom.
Last week we added Three Additional Practices (if you failed miserably, try again this week!):
No phone as an alarm for waking up in the morning.
No phone one hour before bedtime.
No phone for one hour after you wake up.
This week we add one more challenge: No Phones while conversing with other people.
Example: Human Person walks up to you and starts a conversation. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
Example: Your daughter has a question about something. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
Example: Your son can't find his shoes, again. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
Example: Your fill in the blank says fill in the blank to you. Phone goes in your pocket or purse.
This challenge is not limited to friends and family... checkout girls, bag boys, receptionists, mechanics, donut shop workers (bless them), government employees (even those at the DMV), co-workers, zombies, husbands, other people in the #SmartFreedom Challenge, etc.